At the bear sanctuary by Claire Booker



Claire Booker lives in Brighton between the south downs and the sea. Her poems have been set to music, filmed, displayed on buses and published widely, including in Ambit, Magma, The Moth, Poetry News, Rialto, Stand and The Spectator. She was presented with a Kathak Literary Award in Bangladesh. Her pamphlets are The Bone That Sang (Indigo Dreams) and Later There Will Be Postcards (Green Bottle Press). Her website can be found at 


























old friendships are respected: Attila

is cohabiting with a wolf. Florentina waits

for Boris by the perimeter fence, happy

to crop grass under his blinded eye as he

eviscerates oranges (his favourite fruit)

or licks speciality ice cream made of

supermarket throw-outs. Maria has been

breaking hearts since she arrived – wears her

blunt claws and honey-fur apologetically,

treads the same small circle round the clock.

She once rode a unicycle in tight rings

inside a larger ring. One night in Bucureşti

she sat down bare-faced in the sawdust –

refused the crowd’s adulation. Fellow artiste,

Max, has turned solo; rotates on his huge

haunches and paw-claps groups if he

spots them by the fence. He’s under his own

management now, perfecting applause . . . 


Claire Booker




New Arrival by Claire Booker